video: One Plastic Bag Book Trailer
Green Bay, WI USA
SCHOOL VISITS: PreK - 5
Miranda Paul is a former teacher and picture book author who loves visiting schools or leading workshops. Her presentations inspire, entertain, and broaden horizons. She gets kids thinking about all kinds of writing, activates their passion to make a difference, and shows them how to celebrate creativity (often accompanied by dancing and drumming). Her complete school visit packet guide is available on her website.
Year(s) of participation: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
A4ED school visit photos & blurbs:
WESTWOOD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in De Pere, Wisconsin USA
MIRANDA FUELS CONSERVATION AT WESTWOOD
My Authors for Earth Day 2018 visit is one a lot of people will be remembering for a long, long time. Why?
It all started with fantastic librarian Jen Zurawski. She got the kids pumped about my books—from the silly and funny10 Little Ninjas to the environmentally-focused Water is Water. They decorated the school and did many of the activities on my teacher resource page.
But that's not all.
When Westwood discovered they'd be my A4ED school, the 5th graders jumped to action researching the five conservation charities on the list. They recorded and edited video commercials so that the younger students could learn about each organization. You can see the commercials here.
But that's not all.
Since the school asked me to come in for an entire week, we wrote stories, talked about single-use plastics, and ways we could make a difference both with our writing and in our daily lives. On Thursday, they shared their stories for hours after school at a Young Authors Night. I signed hundreds of books—but the MOST popular book was One Plastic Bag, a story about Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia. All week, we'd talked about determination and doing what's right and how one person can make a difference. Author night was special, because I got to see so many kids show off their hard work and passion, two traits we discussed about Isatou's character. Hooray for making a difference!
But that's not all.
On Friday, we met again in the gym for the grand finale. The kids sat patiently on the edge of their seats, waiting for me to reveal the winner—for them, that was the reason for the big assembly "finale." But we had a surprise up our sleeves…and it was a big one.
They could tell I was digressing…stalling…and then they realized a surprise was about to happen. That's when I told them someone very special was in the building, and they knew. I introduced THE REAL ISATOU CEESAY, who came all the way from the Gambia, Africa!! Isatou walked into the gym and students broke out in applause. The looks on their faces were priceless! Their environmental hero was in the building—at their school! (Click here to see the video of Isatou walking in.
Isatou got many hugs, answered their questions, and gave them a message. One kid cried tears of joy and others told her what an inspiration she is to them. I witnessed how powerful it was for these kids to meet an environmental hero they'd been learning about for a long time. It was all real now.
But that's not all.
My visit was just the beginning of how the students at Westwood will change the world, starting with a problem in their own backyard, as Isatou advised them. The votes were tallied, and they'd voted for my donation dollars to go to the Horicon Marsh—a preserved wetland area not far from where these kids live. Just minutes after Isatou's message to start locally, they were already doing that with their vote. The $500 I'm sending to the Horicon Marsh is just one part of the awareness and action campaigns that these students will do. So, yeah, that's not all. These kids are going to keep #EarthDay going all year round. I have no doubts!
MARLIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in Bloomington, IN
MIRANDA GIVES KIDS A CHOICE AT MARLIN
Today the kids at Marlin Elementary made me proud. Real proud. They researched five conservation organizations and chose a local one to be the recipient of $450 in donations: WildCare Inc. They also surprised me, raising hundreds of books for Books For Africa, a project that stemmed from one student's ideas and effort.
A first grader got up in front of the whole school and did Emily Arrow's Water is Water dance. Another student jump roped with me in front of the whole gym, using recycled plastic bag jump ropes they hand made.
And now they're all going home with reusable bags armed with action items such as "skip the straw" because they know too much to ignore certain problems now. Thanks for making my 2017 Authors for Earth Day visit so inspirational and fun!
LUXEMBERG-CASCO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in Luxemberg-Casco, WI
MIRANDA CONNECTS WITH STUDENTS AT LUXEMBERG-CASIO
What an energetic day! Hundreds of pre-K through second graders made recycled artwork, signs, and posters that greeted me as I walked into Luxemburg-Casco school. We spent the day sharing stories, playing trivia and guessing-game riddles, and dancing and acting out some natural cycles of the Earth.
Near the end of the day, the results of the votes came in. I got to announce (on the school loudspeaker) that the Friends of the Beach Bay Wildlife Sanctuary was chosen to receive $500.00! This is a local organization and nature center that provides rehabilitation to injured wild animals and nature/conservation education for the greater Green Bay, WI community.
I got to present the check to Mike Reed, the Director of the Wildlife Sanctuary himself! Then, he proceeded to let me know that the money will be combined with funds for a large project—building an expansion to The Oak Learning & Conservation center. My son was in the first-ever pilot outdoor education class for his 4-K experience. The class now has a long waiting list, and these funds will be a small part of expanding the program. Many of the students who voted for this will see a direct benefit. I couldn't be more thrilled.
HILLCREST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in Hobart, WI
MIRANDA GIVES BACK AT HILLCREST
April 1st was a blast! The students had produced Powerpoint videos to campaign before my visit, and their research inspired students to vote for the Plastic Pollution Coalition (part of the Earth Island Institute). My donation was $500 but the kids actually raised another $351.52 on their own, making the total an amazing $851.52.
During my visit, we rocked the 4th "R" chant, adding "Refuse" to the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mantra, which the Coalition really champions. The local student newspaper dropped in to cover the event and everyone took pictures and video to capture our donation, which was on a big neon green poster board check!
Perhaps what's even more exciting is that their enthusiasm for helping the Earth didn't end when I left. The students are doing a Recycling Idea Contest as part of their upcoming science fair and they're making jump-ropes from discarded plastic bags in their classrooms. I'm so proud of the students at Hillcrest Elementary School for "being the change" locally and globally!
Image:Miranda and the subject of her book, Isatou, quiz the kids.